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happened than that when John Milton left Cambridge in 1632 he should have been tempted to follow Winthrop and the colonists of Massachusetts Bay, who had sailed two years before. Sir Henry Vane, the younger, who was afterward Milton's friend

“Vane, young in years, but in sage counsel old”

came over in 1635, and was for a short time governor of Massachusetts. These are idle speculations, and yet, when we reflect that Oliver Cromwell was on the point of embarking for America when he was prevented by the king's officers, we may, for the nonce, “ let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise," and fancy by how narrow a chance Paradise Lost missed being written in Boston. But, as a rule, the members of the literary guild are not quick to emigrate. They like the feeling of an old and rich civilization about them, a state of society which America has only begun to reach during the present century.

Virginia and New England, says Lowell, were the “two great distributing centers of the English race.” The men who colonized the country between the Capes of Virginia were not drawn, to any large extent, from the literary or bookish classes in the old country. Many of the first settlers were gentlemen—too many, Captain Smith thought, for the good of the plantation. Some among these were men of worth and spirit, “ of good means and great parentage. Such was, for example, George Percy, a younger brother of the Earl of Northumberland, who was one of the original adventurers, and the author of A Discourse of the Plantation of the Southern Colony of Virginia, which contains a graphic narrative of the fever and famine summer of 1607 at Jamestown. But many of these gentlemen were idlers, “unruly gallants, packed thither by their friends to escape ill destinies;” dissipated younger sons, soldiers of fortune, who came over after the gold which was supposed to abound

in the new country, and who spent their time in playing bowls and drinking at the tavern as soon as there was any tavern. With these was a sprinkling of mechanics and farmers, indented servants, and the off-scourings of the London streets, fruit of press-gangs and jail deliveries, sent over to “work in the plantations.”

Nor were the conditions of life afterward in Virginia very favorable to literary growth. The planters lived isolated on great estates which had water-fronts on the rivers that flow into the Chesapeake. There the tobacco, the chief staple of the country, was loaded directly upon the trading vessels that tied up to the long, narrow wharves of the plantations. Surrounded by his slaves, and visited occasionally by a distant neighbor, the Virginia country gentleman lived a free and careless life. He was fond of fox-hunting, horseracing, and cock-fighting. There were no large towns, and the planters met each other mainly on occasion of a county court or the assembling of the Burgesses. The court-house was the nucleus of social and political life in Virginia as the town-meeting was in New England. In such a state of society schools were necessarily few, and popular education did not exist. Sir William Berkeley, who was the royal governor of the colony from 1641 to 1677, said, in 1670, “I thank God there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years.” In the matter of printing this pious wish was well-nigh realized. The first press set up in the colony, about 1681, was soon suppressed, and found no successor until the year 1729. From that date until some ten years before the Revolution one printingpress answered the needs of Virginia, and this was unde official control. The earliest newspaper in the colony was the Virginia Gazette, established in 1736.

In the absence of schools the higher education naturally languished. Some of the planters were taught at home by tutors, and others went to England and entered the univer

sities. But these were few in number, and there was no college in the colony until more than half a century after the foundation of Harvard in the younger province of Massachusetts. The college of William and Mary was established at Williamsburg chiefly by the exertions of the Rev. James Blair, a Scotch divine, who was sent by the Bishop of London as “commissary" to the Church in Virginia. The college received its charter in 1693, and held its first commencement in 1700. It is perhaps significant of the difference between the Puritans of New England and the so-called “ Cavaliers” of Virginia, that while the former founded and supported Harvard College in 1636, and Yale in 1701, of their own motion and at their own expense, William and Mary received its endowment from the crown, being provided for in part by a deed of lands and in part by a tax of a penny a pound on all tobacco exported from the colony. In return for this royal grant the college was to present yearly to the king two copies of Latin verse.

It is reported of the young Virginian gentlemen who resorted to the new college that they brought their plantation manners with them, and were accustomed to “keep race-horses at the college, and bet at the billiard or other gaming-tables." William and Mary College did a good work for the colony, and educated some of the great Virginians of the Revolutionary era, but it has never been a large or flourishing institution, and has held no such relation to the intellectual development of its section as Harvard and Yale have held in the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Even after the foundation of the University of Virginia, in which Jefferson took a conspicuous part, Southern youths were commonly sent to the North for their education, and at the time of the outbreak of the civil war there was a large contingent of Southern students in several Northern colleges, notably in Princeton and Yale.

Naturally, the first books written in America were descrip

tions of the country and narratives of the vicissitudes of the infant settlements, which were sent home to be printed for the information of the English public and the encouragement of further immigration. - Among books of this kind produced in Virginia the earliest and most noteworthy were the writings of that famous soldier of fortune, Captain John Smith. The first of these was his True Relation, namely, “of such occurrences and accidents of note as hath happened in Virginia since the first planting of that colony," printed at London in 1608. Among Smith's other books the most important is perhaps his General History of Virginia (London, 1624), a compilation of various narratives by different hands, but passing under his name. Smith was a man of a restless and daring spirit, full of resource, impatient of contradiction, and of a somewhat vainglorious nature, with an appetite for the marvelous and a disposition to draw the longbow. He had seen service in many parts of the world, and his wonderful adventures lost nothing in the telling. It was alleged against him that the evidence of his prowess rested almost entirely on his own testimony. His truthfulness in essentials has not, perhaps, been successfully impugned, but his narratives have suffered by the embellishments with which he has colored them; and, in particular, the charming story of Pocahontas saving his life at the risk of her ownthe one romance of early Virginian history-has passed into the realm of legend.

Captain Smith's writings have small literary value apart from the interest of the events which they describe and the diverting but forcible personality which they unconsciously display. They are the rough-hewn records of a busy man of action, whose sword was mightier than his pen. As Smith returned to England after two years in Virginia, and did not permanently cast in his lot with the settlement of which he had been for a time the leading spirit, he can hardly be claimed as an American author. No more can Mr. George

Sandys, who came to Virginia in the train of Governor Wyat, in 1621, and completed his excellent metrical translation of Ovid on the banks of the James, in. the midst of the Indian massacre of 1622, “limned as he writes “by that imperfect light which was snatched from the hours of night and repose, having wars and tumults to bring it to light instead of the muses.” Sandys went back to England for good probably as early as 1625, and can, therefore, no more be reckoned as the first American poet, on the strength of his paraphrase of the Metamorphoses, than he can be reckoned the earliest Yankee inventor because he “introduced the first water-mill into America."

The literature of colonial Virginia, and of the southern colonies which took their point of departure from Virginia, is almost wholly of this historical and descriptive kind. A great part of it is concerned with the internal affairs of the province, such as “Bacon's Rebellion," in 1676, one of the most striking episodes in our ante-revolutionary annals, and of which there exist a number of narratives, some of them anonymous, and only rescued from a manuscript condition a hundred years after the event. Another part is concerned with the explorations of new territory. Such were the “Westover Manuscripts,” left by Colonel William Byrd, who was appointed in 1729 one of the commissioners to fix the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina, and gave an account of the survey in his History of the Dividing Line, which was printed only in 1841. Colonel Byrd is one of the most brilliant figures of colonial Virginia, and a type of the Old Virginia gentleman. He had been sent to England for his education, where he was admitted to the bar of the Middle Temple, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and formed an intimate friendship with Charles Boyle, the Earl of Orrery. He held many offices in the government of the colony, and founded the cities of Richmond and Petersburg. His estates were large, and at Westover—where he had one of

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